This paper analyses five major transitions in watershed management in the Lower Mississippi River from the early 19th century to the present. A conceptual framework is developed for analysing the role of visions, agency, and niches in water management transitions and applied to a historical case on water management in the Lower Mississippi River. It is shown that water management regimes change over time and that major transitions were preceded by niches, in which new visions were developed and empowered. The case shows that: (i) emerging visions play an important role in guiding transitions; (ii) agency enables the further diffusion of visions and niches; (iii) vision champions play an important role in transitions, but are not decisive; (iv) each transition has led to an extension of the number of societal functions provided, which has led to more complex water management regimes in which functions are combined and integrated; and (v) external landscape factors are important, as they can lead to awareness and urgency in important decision making processes.
- Water resourcemanagement
- Watermanagement regimes